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exhibition Info
Social Cognition, Perception & Behavior

Type: Image (jpg)

Submitter: [anonymous]

Category: Nature

Exhibition Date: 2017-02-19 22:46:05 MST

Views: 543

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Submitter's Comment
The way people encode, process, remember and use information in social contexts in order to make sense of other people’s behaviors

Simplistically how you think about others and how that influences your behavior. People have the inherent desire to make sense of the world

Take mental shortcuts when trying to make sense of the world
Motivated Tactician v. Cognitive Miser

Motivated Tactician

flexible social thinkers who choose between multiple cognitive strategies (i.e., speed/ease vs accuracy/logic) based on their current goals, motives, and needs

Cognitive Miser

The act of preserving mental resources by employing mental strategies of social inference

Systematic strategies of social inference when...

There are time constraints

People experience cognitive overload

The situation is of lower importance

There is little information regarding the issue

The Naïve Scientist

The basis for attribution theory
Heider (1958)
People are motivated by two primary needs:
1) the need to form a coherent view of the world, and
2) the need to gain control over the environment
To satisfy these needs we act as naïve scientists, rationally and logically testing our hypotheses about the behaviour of others

According to Heider, people have a basic need to attribute causality because this ascribes meaning to our world, making it clear, definable, and predictable, thereby reducing uncertainty

The Locus of Causality

Internal (person) attribution
any explanation that locates the cause as being internal to the person (personality, mood, attitudes, abilities, effort)
External (situation) attribution
any explanation that locates the cause as being external to the person (actions of others, the nature of the situation, luck)

Stability and Controllability

Stable vs unstable causes
permanent and lasting vs temporary and fluctuating
Controllable vs uncontrollable causes
extent to which causes can be influenced by others versus the extent to which they are random
Both independent from both internal/external dimension

Together, these three dimensions appear to be the main way people explain events (Meyer & Koebl, 1982) in individualist and collectivist countries (Hau & Salili, 1991)

The Self

A symbolic construct
It reflects
consciousness of our own identity
awareness that we exist as an individual, separate from other individuals

A psychological state in which people are aware of their traits, feelings and behaviours
The Development of Self-awareness

Lewis and Brooks (1978)
Put a spot of rouge on the nose of babies and then put them in front of a mirror
Babies between 9 months and 2 years treated mirror image as another child, showing no interest in the spot on their nose
Around 18 months, children recognised that the reflection was themselves

Neurological Basis of Self- awareness
Private vs Public Self-awareness

Private self-awareness
Evoked when …
looking in a mirror
experiencing physiological arousal
Public self-awareness
Evoked when …
giving a presentation
being photographed or filmed

Consequences of Private Self-awareness

A. Intensified emotional response
B. Clarification of knowledge
C. Adherence to personal standards of behaviour

Participants read aloud positive or negative statements.
Participants who looked in the mirror during this task – making them privately self aware – became more extreme in their emotional responses

Example: Scheier and Carver(1977)
Consequences of Public Self-awareness

A. Evaluation apprehension
B. Loss of self-esteem
C. Adherence to social standards of behaviour


Personality trait
Describes the extent to which an individual is chronically aware of their traits, feelings and behaviour


Privately self-conscious
Experience more intense emotions
Act in line with personal beliefs
More accurate self-perceptions (Mullen & Suls, 1982)
Publicly self-conscious
Adhere to group norms
Avoid embarrassing situations (Froming et al., 1990)
More concerned with their appearance

Organization of Self-knowledge

Self schemas:
how we expect ourselves how think, feel and behave in a particular situation
Self schemas become active in relevant situations and provide us with information regarding how – based on our beliefs of who we are – we should respond

Each of us hold a complex self-concept made up of a number of discrete self-schemas
Having complex and varied self-schemas is beneficial for us, buffering us from negative events and failings in our life

We are self-schematic on a particular self-schema if it is highly embedded in our self-concept (Markus, 1977)

Theories of Self-comparison

1. Control theory of self-regulation (Carver & Scheier, 1981)
We examine the self to assess whether we are meeting our personal goals

Limitations – Baumeister et al. (1998)

Hungry participants were split into 2 groups
Eat only radishes
Eat only chocolate cookies
Participants who had previously had to exert self-control –by eating only radishes and ignoring the chocolate – were less able to persist on a subsequent problem solving task
Suggests we have limited cognitive resources at our disposal to self-regulate

2. Self-discrepancy theory (Higgins, 1987)
Actual self
Ideal self
Ought Self
People are motivated to ensure that their actual self matches their ideal and ought self
The greater the discrepancy between the actual self and a self guide, the greater the psychological discomfort

Theories of Individual-Comparison

1.Social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954)
We learn how to define the self by comparing ourselves to others
We make two different sorts of comparisons
Upward comparisons
Downward comparisons

Theories of Individual-comparison

2.Self-evaluation maintenance model (Tesser, 1988)
When someone is more successful than us, it can have a negative effect on our self-esteem
How do we deal with this?
Upward social comparison
Several strategies …

Self-esteem Maintenance Strategies…
Theories of Group Comparison

Social identity approach (Tajfel & Turner, 1979)
There are 2 important aspects of the self
Personal identity
Social identity
Context dependent

Jetten, Spears and Manstead (1996)

Assigned participants to minimal groups
Asked to distribute money between members of their own group and members of another group
Group norm manipulated – fairness ‘strategy’ or ‘discrimination’ strategy
Participants were strongly influenced by the norms of their own group


The evaluative component of the self concept
A person’s subjective appraisal of himself or herself as intrinsically positive or negative to some degree (Sedikides & Gregg, 2003)
Our level of self-esteem can vary from time to time, depending on the context we find ourselves in
But there are also chronic differences in self-esteem

Consequences of Low Self-esteem

Mood regulation
Wood et al. (2003)
People with low self-esteem dampen positive feelings
Heimpel et al. (2002)
Following failure, people with low self-esteem make less goals and plans to improve their mood

Consequences of Self-esteem

Extremely high self-esteem
Reliant on validation from others
Positive characteristics: Initially likeable, extraverted, unlikely to suffer from depression, perform well in public
Negative characteristics: Crave attention, overconfident, lack empathy (Young and Pinksy, 2006)

Bushman and Baumeister (1998)

Participants wrote an essay which was marked by ‘another participant’
Praise vs threat conditions
Competitive reaction task, in which the loser receives a blast of noise
Positive relationship between narcissism and aggression (measured by the intensity of noise delivered to other participant)


Three self-motives
Self assessment
Which motivation is most important to us?
Self-enhancement (Sedikides, 1993)

Strategies to Enhance the Personal Self

1. Self-affirmation theory
We respond to threatened self-esteem by publicly affirming positive aspects of the self (e.g., Steele, 1975)

Strategies to Enhance the Personal Self

2. Self-serving attribution bias
Successes attributed to internal characteristics
Failures attributed to external characteristics
Memory for self-enhancing information (Mischel et al., 1975)

Strategies to Enhance the Social Self

People also derive a positive self-image from their group memberships
Group members are motivated to hold a positive collective identity
Low status group members:
Join a higher status group
Social change strategies
Social creativity strategies

Keywords: psychology, self awareness motivations

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